Managing your Masters Course Applications

In the UK, the system for applying for masters courses is different from the undergraduate application system wiht which many students are familiar: there is no single overall postgraduate application system. We have put together some common questions and answers about how to apply for masters courses and how to manage your applications.

Q: How do I apply for a Masters level course in the UK?
A: In most cases, you will need to submit a completely separate application for each course, to each university. Almost all universities now have online application forms, and some allow you to apply through a masters portal for that particular university so that you can submit some required information that applies to each course you are applying for, and only parts of the application form for each course are different.

Are there any exceptions to this?
A: There are a few exceptions where you apply centrally, depending on the type of course: you can apply for a social work masters and a PGCE or other postgraduate teacher training route through the UCAS system. UCAS also runs a scheme joined by a small number of universities which allows you to register once and then apply for courses within the scheme through a portal: if the course you are interested in is within the scheme, the university that runs the course will explain how to apply.

What types of information will I need to apply for a course?
A: As well as personal information, you will need evidence of your undergraduate qualification - certificates if you have already completed it, or transcripts if you are still studying for your undergraduate degree. If you are an international student, you will also need proof of your language skills: the requirements for each university are given in the Entry Requirements section of each listing on MastersCompare and also on the university websites. You will usually also need to complete a personal statement relating to each course you are applying for, stating why you are interested in applying to the course.

Do I have to apply by a particular date for a masters course in the UK?
A: There are no 'universal application dates' for masters courses in the UK, and application deadlines for courses can vary widely. Very popular courses with limited space can close applications at the end of January each year or earlier, whilst others can still accept applications in the summer. Each university has different rules and different deadlines, even within the same department.